Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Dalibor Siroky, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, John Katrick, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Agile Computing

Microservices Expo: Article

End-User Experience Management Drives ROI

Five ways for CIOs to convince their CFOs

Enterprise CFOs are taking an increasingly active role in managing the IT decision making process. As a result, IT professionals need to be prepared to quickly show how innovative technology investments equate to real business value. According to a recent industry report, only 5 percent of CIOs have the power to authorize IT investments. That same study reports that IT departments are now, more than ever, reporting directly to the CFO (42 percent) as opposed to the 33 percent reporting to the CEO. A company can't stay competitive and productive without the right tools, technology and infrastructure. And, today's CIOs and IT leaders need the approval of the finance department, which means technology investments need to be more tightly coupled and aligned to company goals and business value.

It has also become increasingly important to prove how new investments can drive additional ROI from the company's existing infrastructure, reduce overall business costs, optimize business processes and improve business productivity, while also demonstrating overall interoperability with existing and future IT investments. Common questions finance asks IT are: "Why do we need another XYZ tool when we already have several throughout the enterprise?" or "How will this product add value to the business and when?"

Making the Case for End User Experience Management
When it comes to application performance management (APM) and end user experience, enterprises could have anywhere from five to over 100 management tools that they use in tandem to help manage their IT services. However, these tools are typically data center-centric - they are unable to monitor, detect and pinpoint the cause of application performance problems from the desktop vantage point. So despite the fact there's been a substantial investment in these APM tools, they cannot provide IT with visibility into understanding how end users are actually experiencing the IT services they consume. Therefore, IT is unable to proactively manage and address performance issues before business productivity is impacted.

Below are some suggested ways for IT to bridge the ROI use case gap and how to describe the real business value that can be delivered with the adoption of real end user experience monitoring and management tools, especially those focused on the desktop vantage point - which, by the way, is becoming more widely recognized as a necessity in order to fuel a true user-centric approach to proactive IT management.

According to Will Cappelli, research vice president of Gartner, Inc., "Technologies are required which will be able to penetrate the increasingly complex and opaque Internet edge and the correlation between edge events and host processes. In fact, we believe that such technologies that gather and analyze data from the point where users and customers actually access the data could, in some cases, replace APM technologies that are reliant on data-center-bound instrumentation points."

1. Define and Communicate the Limitations of Existing Products
Industry-leading analysts have established that in 74 percent of the reported help desk cases, IT first learns about performance and availability problems when users call the help desk. That's because existing application performance management products are data center-focused and provide very little visibility into real end user experience. As mentioned earlier, the average company has five APM products in place, many have as many as 25 different products, and 100+ is not uncommon. While each of these products may be critical for managing certain components of the IT infrastructure, they do not address the effective management of the end user experience, thereby curtailing both user and business productivity.

The recently published Gartner Magic Quadrant for User Application Performance Monitoring (by Will Cappelli and Jonah Kowall, September 19, 2011) has identified end user experience monitoring as one of the central components to the application performance management process because it "is precisely where business process execution interfaces with the IT stack; any monitoring effort that fails to capture the end user's experience is ultimately blind at the most direct point of encounter between IT and the business."

The problem seems to be a lack of the right tools - those that support business optimization, improvements to IT processes, and increased user productivity. User-centric, proactive IT management of the end user experience addresses this critical problem - the visibility gap - at its core.

2. Share How Current and Future IT Investments Impact Real End User Experience and Business Productivity
In the application world, companies make continued investments to improve application adoption and how they perform for their end users. And it's no secret that when key business applications aren't performing optimally, the impact can be felt both on the business and on corporate morale. According to analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates, large companies report that "downtime can cost in excess of $15,000 per minute for technology-dependent organizations, as applications drive revenue, productivity and brand value."

When precise insights are available into how users utilize their applications, real end user performance data can be leveraged to increase the ROI on these investments. For example, if IT management can validate that users are actively adopting and successfully using the application and their productivity is meeting expectations, this insight can eliminate the unnecessary and costly investment of additional licenses or "premium" packages based on usage. It can also help highlight the need for improved training for increased productivity and even reduce the deadly "shelf ware" sin, where 57 percent of global enterprises own more software licenses than actually deployed.

3. Be Prepared with Empirical Evidence to Prove Your Case
Desktop and infrastructure investments are critical to any IT organization. It is a challenge to keep up with the plethora of devices, protocols and innovations to understand which is better for your unique business and IT environment. The cost of selecting, purchasing and deploying new infrastructure technologies can be exorbitant. On top of that, you enter very risky waters if you lack the empirical evidence that the performance improvements will actually improve the end user experience.

Understanding the potential impact of software and application upgrades on end user experience is critical for the enterprise, as a single vulnerability can severely impact business continuity. The same applies to testing configuration management of infrastructure components and various operating systems. Comprehensive before-and-after comparisons validate performance and functionality prior to rolling out the application enterprise-wide. Visibility into the actual end user experience and performance that proves proposed changes substantially impact performance (or not) ensure that the investment decisions are based on empirical evidence versus assumption.

4. Evangelize the "Visibility Gap" and Reveal How It Threatens the Business
To understand the impact real end user experience has on business productivity, and ultimately the return on your existing and future IT investments, you must be able to measure and monitor the three primary components that dynamically interact to constantly impact how end users experience the IT services they consume in real-time. Otherwise, decisions will be made with a significant "visibility gap" in performance knowledge that can lead to unnecessary and costly missteps.

The first component is application performance. Latency, response time and end-to-end transaction time are all key elements in both the experience and measurement of application performance.

The second component is device performance. Even if the end-to-end transaction time of a particular application is excellent, if the underlying platform is sluggish - perhaps due to CPU power, memory availability or other background processes that are resource hogs - the end user's experience with what should be a high-performing application will be poor.

Ultimately, businesses deliver applications to enhance the productivity of end users, making user productivity the third component of end user experience. How many trades, calls or emails can the end user complete using a particular application running on a specific desktop platform? Productivity is impacted by error messages, non-responding and crashed applications, boot time, and the actual usability of the application.

Measuring and monitoring the three primary components (application, device and user) that dynamically interact to constantly impact end users experience in real-time is critical in order to close the "visibility gap" between how IT believes services are being consumed and how they are actually being experienced by the frontline.

5. Comprehensive Visibility Delivers Rapid Response and Cost Reduction
More often than not, the first and only indication of a problem on the frontline is when end users call the help desk - if they call at all - and by this time business and end user productivity has already been disrupted. Moreover, when users start calling it is very difficult for them to accurately describe the problems they are experiencing, while at the same time IT can't determine whether the issues are isolated or endemic.

Immediate awareness and rapid response to end user problems before end users call the help desk can reduce the costs associated with the need for manual monitoring and dedicated help desk/IT operations resources for severity type 1 and 2 problems. The ability to monitor the "Key-to-Glass" for any business activity running on any desktop (type), autonomic performance profiling and proactive incident detection all help contribute to cost reduction.

Summary
Today's CFO is "increasingly becoming the top technology investment decision maker in many organizations," but even though one report discussed earlier indicates this shift, another report, CIO magazine's 2010 State of the CIO, found that 43 percent of CIOs still report to CEOs, and just 19 percent report to CFOs. Whether the number is 19 percent or 42 percent, the more important takeaway is that CIOs and IT leaders are indeed increasing the communication path and their transparency with financial leaders.

To do so, CIOs are demonstrating their understanding of the direct impact IT tools and technologies have on improving business performance by delivering effective control, efficiency and business insight. They are making this crystal clear to their financial leader counterpart(s) and therefore bridging the gap between the enigma of IT and the real benefits and ROI being witnessed on an ongoing basis. This is how CIOs and CFOs will achieve common business goals. Gaining true end user experience management and monitoring is just one example of how an IT investment can be pivotal in driving more ROI from existing and planned IT infrastructure investments - something that everyone can rally behind.

More Stories By Donna Parent

Donna Parent is vice president of marketing for Aternity Inc. She has held a number of senior marketing positions at emerging software vendors spanning real-time business intelligence solutions for SOAs, Sales Force Automation software, high-performance Complex Event Processing (CEP) solutions, and online intelligence applications for monitoring business activity through open Internet resources.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
For many of us laboring in the fields of digital transformation, 2017 was a year of high-intensity work and high-reward achievement. So we’re looking forward to a little breather over the end-of-year holiday season. But we’re going to have to get right back on the Continuous Delivery bullet train in 2018. Markets move too fast and customer expectations elevate too precipitously for businesses to rest on their laurels. Here’s a DevOps “to-do list” for 2018 that should be priorities for anyone w...
If testing environments are constantly unavailable and affected by outages, release timelines will be affected. You can use three metrics to measure stability events for specific environments and plan around events that will affect your critical path to release.
In a recent post, titled “10 Surprising Facts About Cloud Computing and What It Really Is”, Zac Johnson highlighted some interesting facts about cloud computing in the SMB marketplace: Cloud Computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective for an SMB, compared to running its own IT system. 94% of SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud that they didn’t have with their on-premises service
DevOps failure is a touchy subject with some, because DevOps is typically perceived as a way to avoid failure. As a result, when you fail in a DevOps practice, the situation can seem almost hopeless. However, just as a fail-fast business approach, or the “fail and adjust sooner” methodology of Agile often proves, DevOps failures are actually a step in the right direction. They’re the first step toward learning from failures and turning your DevOps practice into one that will lead you toward even...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
While walking around the office I happened upon a relatively new employee dragging emails from his inbox into folders. I asked why and was told, “I’m just answering emails and getting stuff off my desk.” An empty inbox may be emotionally satisfying to look at, but in practice, you should never do it. Here’s why. I recently wrote a piece arguing that from a mathematical perspective, Messy Desks Are Perfectly Optimized. While it validated the genius of my friends with messy desks, it also gener...
The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Mi...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace play...
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
Some people are directors, managers, and administrators. Others are disrupters. Eddie Webb (@edwardawebb) is an IT Disrupter for Software Development Platforms at Liberty Mutual and was a presenter at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. His talk, Organically DevOps: Building Quality and Security into the Software Supply Chain at Liberty Mutual, looked at Liberty Mutual's transformation to Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and DevOps. For a large, heavily regulated industry, this task ...
Following a tradition dating back to 2002 at ZapThink and continuing at Intellyx since 2014, it’s time for Intellyx’s annual predictions for the coming year. If you’re a long-time fan, you know we have a twist to the typical annual prediction post: we actually critique our predictions from the previous year. To make things even more interesting, Charlie and I switch off, judging the other’s predictions. And now that he’s been with Intellyx for more than a year, this Cortex represents my first ...
"Grape Up leverages Cloud Native technologies and helps companies build software using microservices, and work the DevOps agile way. We've been doing digital innovation for the last 12 years," explained Daniel Heckman, of Grape Up in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Toyota Production System, a world-renowned production system is based on the "complete elimination of all waste". The "Toyota Way", grounded on continuous improvement dates to the 1860s. The methodology is widely proven to be successful yet there are still industries within and tangential to manufacturing struggling to adopt its core principles: Jidoka: a process should stop when an issue is identified prevents releasing defective products
We seem to run this cycle with every new technology that comes along. A good idea with practical applications is born, then both marketers and over-excited users start to declare it is the solution for all or our problems. Compliments of Gartner, we know it generally as “The Hype Cycle”, but each iteration is a little different. 2018’s flavor will be serverless computing, and by 2018, I mean starting now, but going most of next year, you’ll be sick of it. We are already seeing people write such...
Defining the term ‘monitoring’ is a difficult task considering the performance space has evolved significantly over the years. Lately, there has been a shift in the monitoring world, sparking a healthy debate regarding the definition and purpose of monitoring, through which a new term has emerged: observability. Some of that debate can be found in blogs by Charity Majors and Cindy Sridharan.
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.